Expectations are high as the September 2009 and May 2010 dates for the landing of submarine cables from the United Kingdom to the coast of Nigeria draws nearer.
The operators behind the laying of the submarine cables from the United Kingdom, Globacom, and MainOne Cable have assured Nigerians that the landing dates, which are imminent, have been confirmed by the contractors handling the projects, which they say are near completion.
Globacom says its Glo One Submarine cable has landed Accra, Ghana from the United Kingdom and that the duct where it will finally land in Nigeria has been prepared waiting for its arrival on the Nigerian coast. G;lobacom, the nation’s second national carrier that is already warming up to step into the shoes of the national carrier has given September this year as the landing date of its Glo One Submarine cable.
MainOne says its submarine cable will land the shores of Nigeria in May 2010 and that it will be commercially launched in June 2010. The Main One cable project which totals USD 240 million will involve the laying of 7,000 Kilometres of submarine fibre optic cable between Seixal (a suburb of Lisbon) in Portugal, Accra in Ghana, and Lagos in Nigeria, respectively. The system will be based on a trunk-and-branch topology and include branching units to the Canary Islands, Morocco, Senegal, and CÙte d’Ivoire.
Globacom on its part, has invested over $800 million on its Glo One Submarine cable project that will connect 16 countries in West Africa through Lisbon, Portugal to Bude in the United Kingdom on a 32 STM 64 project cable capacity. The Glo Submarine cable project spans 9,600 kilometres.
Both operators have assured of a deep fall in the cost of voice and data services as soon as the cables reach the shores of Nigeria. According to them the landing of submarine cable in Nigeria will crash the cost of bandwidth, which has remained very expensive, resulting to high cost of data and voice services as currently being experienced.
Assuring Nigerians of the many benefits of Glo One Submarine cable at a recent press conference in Lagos, Executive Director, Human Resources for Globacom, Mr. Adewale Sangowawa said Glo One will enable its subscribers to enjoy the full possibilities offered by broadband technology with high quality direct links to various countries across the globe and interconnect with several international networks and leading traffic carriers in the world.
Chief Executive Officer of Main One Cable Company, Funke Opeke said the unique initiative is expected to breathe a new life of vibrancy and reduced cost into the broadband penetration regime in West Africa and subsequently, all over Africa.
MainOne Cable got the approval of the board of directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) to finance its submarine fibre optic cable project to the tune of USD 66 million.
MainOne says it will lease its 1.92 terabits per second cable of available bandwidth in wholesale to telecom operators and internet service providers on an open access basis, thereby encouraging competitive pricing and a large customer base. The project has already attracted broad interest and MST, the Nigerian based sponsor is in the process of securing long term contracts with a number of the largest operators in Nigeria and Ghana.
The considerable increase in available bandwidth from the Main One cable will provide telecom operators with the additional capacity they require to expand networks and mobilize a broader range of services. The system will contribute to an immediate 50 percent drop in the price of bandwidth in Nigeria and Ghana, and continued price reduction is anticipated over time, the company said in a statement.
According to Tim Turner, AfDB Private Sector Director, “The project’s main positive outcomes stem from its strong infrastructure development effects. By dramatically lowering the cost of ICT services, annual cost savings to West African consumers will range from USD 30 million in the early years to USD 160 million within 10 years.”
The Main One project aligns closely with the Bank’s infrastructure orientation and private sector development strategy, and the ICT Strategy for 2008-2010 in particular. Specifically, the project is congruent with the Bank’s Country Strategy Papers (CSP) for Nigeria and Ghana, both of which underscore private sector intervention in the infrastructure space. In addition, Main One ties in with the Bank’s role as a lead agency implementing the medium- to long-term strategic framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
The Main One cable project has recorded considerable progress that signposts a clear commitment to on-time project completion. Last December it was the beneficiary of the first ever submarine cable landing licenses to be awarded by Nigeria and Ghana respectively. Last March, following the completion of the 27 Kilometre in-shore survey operation near Portugal, it commenced its main route survey operations.